The Helsinki Commission of the United States: hearings on the application of...

The Helsinki Commission of the United States: hearings on the application of the “law of Magnitsky”


Хельсинкская комиссия США: слушания о применении «Закона Магнитского»

In hearings involving legislators, human rights activists and the Russian opposition

Senate hearings under the auspices of the US Helsinki Commission (Commission on security and cooperation in Europe) was opened by democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who along with John McCain were the authors of the global version of the “Magnitsky Act”.

Cardin spoke about the importance of sanctions against violators of the rights and freedoms of people in Russia, and Wicker recalled the words of slain opposition leader and Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was named “the law Magnitsky” the most “Pro-Russian law.”

Хельсинкская комиссия США: слушания о применении «Закона Магнитского»

Speech at the hearings is at the same time about “the law Magnitsky” which was adopted exactly 5 years ago, and about the “global Magnitsky act”, which was adopted last year – so Barack Obama has extended the “Magnitsky act” in all countries. 10 December each year, in accordance with the law, the US President must submit to Congress a list of persons who subject to sanctions over the past year. Them as the basic “law of Magnitsky” will be denied entry into the United States, and their American accounts will be blocked. Until that happens, the administration trump intends to provide a list in the near future.

One of the founders of the Russian opposition movement “Solidarity” Harry Kasparov, who now occupies the post of Chairman of the “Foundation for human rights” in new York, stressed that American authorities must act to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Like a chess grandmaster, I can assure you constantly defend is always a way to defeat – said the 13-th world chess champion. – Policy of Putin is not working. Diplomacy does not work. The “Magnitsky act” works.”

“The interaction fails with Putin, because Putin never was your friend,” – said Kasparov.

Bill Browder, head of the investment Fund “Hermitage Capital”, which was represented by lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, has again raised the subject of efforts of Russian authorities to create obstacles for the application of the “Magnitsky act” in the United States.

As reported, this subject was discussed, in particular, at the meeting in the “trump tower” with participation of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat ahmetshin with Donald trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

As noted by Browder, followed by the United States, great Britain and Estonia is preparing a law in the near future to adopt in Lithuania, whose Parliament has unanimously supported it, and also in Ukraine, South Africa and Gibraltar.

In addition, he said, should not be forgotten is enshrined in law the responsibility of the U.S. government for the promotion of the “Magnitsky act”. As suitable for this opportunity Browder called the next G7 summit to be held in June in Canada.

Senior Vice-President of the human rights organization Human Rights First Berlinski Rob says that the activity of the Russian authorities and their lobbyists in Washington around the “Magnitsky act” demonstrates that they understand how powerful this tool is. The law, especially its global version, is aimed at supporters of authoritarian regimes around the world, says Berlinski.According to him, now the question is, how to act the American authorities in the face of the administration trump.

“At the moment there were a few positive signs in terms of the “global Magnitsky act,” says Rob Berlinski. – Ultimately, however, this is an important decision point for administration of the trump. They either can show that you take seriously the law, and to identify the main human rights violators and corrupt officials in the world, or to ignore it. In this case, we get the signal that, unfortunately, these issues are not among their priorities. In the end the US needs to restore order in the country to prevent collaboration with collaborators such authorities here, with lawyers and other persons who created fictitious companies in order to hide funds obtained by illegal means”.

Alex Johnson, a senior political Advisor on Europe and Eurasia research Center open society, draws Parallels with the investigation of Russian intervention, which is conducted now by the U.S. Congress and spectaculorum Muller.

“It is inseparable from other processes, – said Johnson.– It is extremely important from the point of view of the application of the Magnitsky act and a new global Magnitsky act to get to the truth and to clarify the circumstances under which took place the intervention in the American elections. The administration of the tramp is quite willing to respond to recommendations from members of Congress and representatives of civil society in the global Magnitsky act. And I guess they can make a good preliminary list of persons who may be subject to sanctions.”

Tanja Nyberg, the head of public organization “Initiative Magnitsky act”, which unites mostly local Russian-speaking activists, says it in the first place, the law for Americans.

“The Magnitsky act – it is not about Putin a bit, says Nyberg.– He on of, say, average people, which carried out all these crimes. Glad to see that the law is evolving and that it now be applied globally to the human rights abusers and corrupt officials around the world.